The last three years of life has attracted little attention from policymakers or the public. It is a difficult subject to deal with.And there are ample signs that people are ill prepared for the challenges of a prolonged end to life, dogged by chronic conditions. Dissatisfaction with how relatives die in hospital is widespread.
Other ritual moments in our lives – marriage for example - have been rewritten. How we die goes largely unspoken, unplanned and increasingly in the hands of medical professionals.
The aim of this project is to find out whether the medicalisation and institutionalisation of death and dying lies at the root of much of the dissatisfaction, and to show there are alternatives.
Our aim is not to provide a new script for dying, so much as to show that people should be increasingly able to write their own scripts, or at least contribute to shaping how they prepare for their death.
Other areas of public policy – social care – are being reshaped by narratives and policies aimed at promoting greater choice, personalisation, independence and citizen capability.
If we as a society believe in people taking more power over our lives – the central shared narrative of all main political parties – then death should be a prime example of this in action.
We will be publishing a report on How Britain Dies in November 2010. For more information, get in touch with Jake Garber.
How Britain Dies is supported by Help the Hospices.
This pamphlet examines how people in the UK die and consequently how pallative care needs to change and be improved.
With the changing nature of global conflict, the idea of the Olympic Truce - a global ceasefire lasting for the duration of the Games - is more relevant than ever.
Louise Bazalgette welcomes the new Patient Charter on End of Life Care.